Rosh Yeshiva Responds
Rabbi Linzer answers halakhic questions from rabbis and community members

2 06, 2024

Megillah Reading By Microphone

June 2nd, 2024|Disabilities, Electricity, Moadim, Orach Chayim, Purim, Shulchan Arukh, Synagogue, Technology|

QUESTION

Canada

At the school where I work, the Megillah reading will be conducted with a microphone, as it always has been. I am unable to change this practice, at least for this year.

What is the Rosh Yeshiva’s position on reading the Megillah with a microphone? Can one rely on the poskim who permit it?

For those attending a Megillah reading with a microphone, should they seek out another reading later not read with a microphone? Alternatively, can those standing close to the reader assume

2 06, 2024

Taking Tums on Shabbat

June 2nd, 2024|Choleh, Orach Chayim, Shabbat, Shulchan Arukh|

QUESTION


NY, New York

May one with mild heartburn/acid reflux take Tums on Shabbat? Are tums considered ma’akhal beri’im or refuah on Shabbat?

ANSWER

By way of introduction, Chazal established a prohibition (gazeirah) against taking medication on Shabbat because of the concern that people might grind their own medication, which was a common preparation method at the time (Shabbat 53b, Rashi s.v. gazerah). This led to the general

26 05, 2024

Warming Up Food on Yom Tov

May 26th, 2024|Bishul, Moadim, Orach Chayim, Pesach, Yom Tov|

QUESTION

Minneapolis, MN

K’vod HaRav, I’m hoping to host the second seder in shul. Our shul ovens turn off after 12 hours automatically and there is no override function. From a culinary standpoint, the best food-warming option would be to hire a non-Jewish person to (privately) turn on the ovens. Is that an acceptable approach?

The other option is for the shul to invest in some platas (hot plates) and timers, but I have found those to be very unpredictable and uneven as far as food warming goes and this seder is potentially feeding

12 03, 2024

Mechitza Construction with Bima in Between the Men’s and Women’s Sections

March 12th, 2024|Keriat HaTorah, Mechitza, Minyan, Orach Chayim, Synagogue, Tefillah, Women|

QUESTION

Washington, DC

Question regarding the construction of a new mechitza:

We have a chapel that seats 115 people. It opens from the back, straight into the middle aisle. The seats are distributed equally on both sides of the aisle, and the bimah is at the front of the room in the center. Our old mechitza for the space was 3 panels; two down the middle aisle, and a third to angle around the bimah so that there was a physical separation between the shaliach

12 03, 2024

Having a Non-Jew Help Clean Up After a Communal Shabbat Meal

March 12th, 2024|Amirah LeGoy, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat|

QUESTION

France

Is it okay to have a non-Jew come at the end of a communal Shabbat meal to do any of the following?

  1. Unplug the hot plates
  2. Turn off the lights
  3. Take the trash out (in a yard that belongs to the whole building)

If the answer to any of the above is yes, which of the following is the best way to relay the message to the non-Jew?

a) Ask directly (though we don’t actually need to)

28 01, 2024

Conversion Candidate Using Public Transportation to Get to Preferred Shul

January 28th, 2024|Amirah LeGoy, Geirut and Geirim, Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat, Shulchan Arukh, Synagogue, Tefillah|

QUESTION


Chicago, IL

A woman who converted to Judaism under Reform auspices and is married to a Jewish husband is interested in relocating to our neighborhood and will eventually undergo another giyur (conversion) under Orthodox auspices. She does not currently live in our neighborhood and knows that she will not be able to complete her conversion until she moves to the neighborhood. For various financial reasons, it could be as long as three years before she is able to relocate.

Until she relocates and converts,

1 12, 2023

Using “Water Wow!” Toy on Shabbat

December 1st, 2023|Orach Chayim, Prohibitions, Shabbat, Shulchan Arukh, Technology|

QUESTION

Canada

Would it be permissible to use the Water Wow! toy on Shabbat? Assuming that it is, at the very least, uvda d’chol, what are other issues are there?

Here’s a description of how it works:

The basic concept is that each page is “laminated” with a very thin sheet of paper – almost like tissue paper, but more durable. When the paper is moistened by the water in the pen, it becomes see-through and reveals the picture underneath. There’s no chemical reaction involved.

ANSWER

Had it been that the water was interacting with some chemical to create the color, it obviously would be

5 11, 2023

Reciting Berakhot on Reading Megillat Rut From a Klaf

November 5th, 2023|Chol Hamoed, Moadim, Orach Chayim, Pesach, Purim, Shavuot, Sukkot|

QUESTION

Maryland

We are reading Megillat Rut from a klaf for the first time this year. The Ba’al Koreh told me he would like to say the berakhot of mikrah megillah and shehechiyanu. I thought this was not widely practiced and I was wondering your guidance on the matter.

ANSWER

I am fine making the berakhot when read from a klaf. I think what is not widely practiced is to read it from a klaf. My sense is that the places that do so, do it with a brakha. (See Rema SA OH 390:9,

5 11, 2023

Reciting Shehechiyanu on Joyous Occasions Not Mentioned in Shulchan Aruch

November 5th, 2023|Bar/Bat Mitzvah, Berakhot, Kiddushin and Ketubah, Lifecycles, Orach Chayim, Sheva Berachot|

QUESTION

Toronto, Canada

What are your thoughts about saying shehechiyanu for occasions not mentioned in Shulchan Aruch? For example, can it be recited by parents at shul for the 3rd birthday of a child whose wimpel will be used for gelilah. What about other lifecycle events such as benei mitzvah, or weddings?

There’s certainly simchat ha’lev, which SA OH 223:4 says is the underlying basis for making the berakhah, but on the other hand, are we makpidim (particular) not to extend the berakhah into other experiences?

ANSWER

The first big question here is weddings. Why is